Tag Archives: Journalist

Jew of the Week: Sivan Rahav-Meir

Israel’s Favourite News Anchor – and Rebbetzin

Sivan Rahav (b. 1981) was born in Herzliya to a secular family. She knew she wanted to be a journalist from childhood, and would already interview her friends in second grade. By 8, she earned herself a “children’s press” card, and by 14 was interviewing the likes of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. Meanwhile, Rahav used her journalistic skills to dig into her roots, and soon returned to Orthodox observance. After finishing high school early, she completed her degree in political science from Tel-Aviv University in just two years, then served in the IDF as a military reporter. During this time, she met her future husband, a fellow Orthodox IDF reporter, Yedidya Meir. The two still work on their biggest stories together – Yedidya hosting a show on Radio Kol Chai and writing for the B’Sheva newspaper, and Sivan hosting a show on Galei Tzahal (Army Radio), writing for Yediot Ahronot (Israel’s largest newspaper), and hosting Channel 2’s prime-time television news hour. During her last maternity leave (after giving birth to her fifth child), she realized she was tired of the negativity and politics of news, and decided to devote more time to spreading positive, spiritual Jewish wisdom. She started giving weekly Torah classes in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, which now draw over 1000 people in packed venues. A master of social media, her Torah thoughts regularly reach over a million listeners through Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, and YouTube. Rahav-Meir also published a bestselling book on the weekly parasha, translated into English last year. In addition to recently being voted Israel’s favourite female news personality, she has become one of Israel’s most successful kiruv speakers, and a tremendous role model for all baalei teshuva. Rahav-Meir is making waves in the world of Israeli journalism, too, and helping to stem the long-standing anti-religious bias of the secular Israeli media. “For secular reporters,” she says, “Judaism was always a problem. But I wanted to talk about it as a solution.”

Words of the Week

The media is seeking instances where religion is excessive, extreme… I think the media doesn’t cover the real things that are happening. Take selichot, for example: Every year 100,000 people come to the Kotel for the last night of selichot. The Kotel plaza is full [but it’s not covered in the news], yet when an old band comes to sing in Ramat Gan’s park and draws 1,000 or 10,000 people, the media will livestream the event and the reporters will be there…
– Sivan Rahav-Meir

Jew of the Week: Ruth Gruber

Journalist, Photographer, War Hero

Ruth Gruber

Ruth Gruber

Ruth Gruber (b. 1911) was born in Brooklyn to Russian-Jewish immigrants. By 15 she was already studying at New York University, and at 20 received a doctorate from the University of Cologne, which many believe made her the youngest person in the world to hold a Ph.D. While studying in Germany, she experienced Nazism first hand, and brought back some of the earliest accounts of these horrors to the US. Having always dreamed of being a writer, Gruber finally began her writing career in 1932. A few years later, she was among the first foreign correspondents in the Soviet Union. During World War II, Gruber served as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior. The seminal moment of her life came in 1944, when she was sent on a special mission to save 1000 Jewish refugees and American soldiers trapped in Italy. Their convoy of 29 ships sailed through treacherous waters and managed to arrive safely in the US. To protect her in case she was captured, she was awarded the rank of “General” (and therefore could not be killed by enemy soldiers according to the Geneva Conventions). This was America’s one and only mission to save Jews during the entire war. Gruber later helped these Jews gain the necessary documentation to stay in the US and not be deported. After the war, Gruber returned to journalism and was stationed in Israel for a time. She witnessed, photographed, and covered the famous voyage of the Exodus that carried 4500 Jewish refugees. She later assisted in the plight of Ethiopian Jewry. Gruber went on to write 19 books and many popular articles. She has won numerous awards for her work, and in 2010 a documentary about her life was released. Gruber will soon celebrate her 103rd birthday. She has been described as a “scholar, writer, journalist and humanitarian, a world class photojournalist.”

UPDATE: Sadly, Ruth Gruber passed away in November of 2016.

Words of the Week

Figure out what you’re willing to die for. Then live for it.
– Rabbi Noach Weinberg